(WATCH) Strengths in Life Sciences, Research and Medical Devices Made Pittsburgh a Perfect Fit for Germany’s SCOPE International

by on May 31, 2016

When Alethea Wieland, now president and CEO of SCOPE International’s first U.S. operation, was interviewing for the job, she didn’t go into the process thinking that she’d be selling not only herself as the perfect candidate, but also selling Pittsburgh as the location of choice for the Germany-headquartered firm’s first U.S. operation.

Initially, leaders from Germany were considering Richmond, Va. for this investment, and Wieland was willing to consider cohabitating there and in Pittsburgh.  However, as the interview unfolded, she found herself making a case for Pittsburgh to the Germans – pointing out the strengths that this region had working in its favor:  rich medical research capability, a growing life sciences sector and a strong medical devices industry, all of which held great potential for SCOPE. The firm is a global contract research organization that oversees clinical trials for new pharmaceuticals and medical devices.  It’s the only such organization of its kind – with respect to a global reach – in the region.  Wieland remembers that she told her interviewers, “Pittsburgh is where you need to be.”

They asked her to prove her point by coming up with a business and hiring plan as part of her interview process, which she feverishly pounded out.  And then they called to say they were coming to Pittsburgh to meet with her and learn more about the city.  Wieland pulled together a team of local leaders to help her sell Pittsburgh – including the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance.  To her advantage, the Germans arrived in town with a job offer, as well as another foreign direct investment opportunity for the region.  They had decided that Pittsburgh is where they should be.

Currently there are 77 German-owned companies in the Pittsburgh region, including SCOPE International.  In Pittsburgh, SCOPE plans to double its headcount to 18 full- and part-time employees by this fall.

The Pittsburgh Regional Alliance’s global marketing strategy this year has including targeting Germany – Hannover, Dusseldorf and Munich, specifically – for raising of the region’s profile and potentially more foreign direct investment.